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Bison Meat Benefits

by Christine Binnendyk

About Christine Binnendyk

Based in Portland, Ore., Christine Binnendyk has written about health topics since 2001. She is the author of the book "Ageless Pilates" and her work has appeared in "SELF" magazine and "Pilates Pro." Binnendyk holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Connecticut and certifications from YogaFit, ACE, IDEA, Oregon School of Massage and the Pilates Studio of New York.

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Indigenous to North America, millions of bison once roamed the plains freely, providing a source of nutrition, clothing and shelter to Native American tribes. Heavy hunting in the late 1800s led to the near extinction of the breed, which is a sister to domestic cattle. Today, bison, also called American buffalo, provide a lean protein source that many choose for health reasons. You can purchase bison meat in grocery stores and from online retailers.

Calories and Protein

A burger could cost you fewer calories if you switched from ground beef to ground bison. A 3-ounce serving of ground bison contains about 150 calories and offers 22 grams of protein, while a similar portion of 80 percent lean ground beef weighs in 40 percent richer, at 216 calories. Although the beef burger carries more calories, it serves up only 15 g of protein -- just two-thirds as much protein as in bison.

Fat

Bison are leaner than cattle -- the 3-ounce bison burger contains 7 grams of fat compared to the traditional beef burger’s 17 grams -- and their fat is healthier for you, according to nutrition expert Loren Cordain, author of “The Paleo Diet.” Bison graze on grass and hay for the majority of their life, which creates body fat with a high level of omega-3 fatty acid. Beef cattle are raised on corn, which creates higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids. Consuming grass-fed meats can help you lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer by shifting your omega-3 to omega-6 ratios, Cordain explains.

Additive-Free

The USDA reports that bison raised in the United States feed solely on grass and hay, and are not fed hormones or antibiotics. Comparatively, commercially raised beef cattle consume hormones and antibiotics to hasten their growth rate and fend off common feedlot illnesses, notes Cordain.

Expert Recommendations

The American Heart Association recommends lean and extra-lean meat choices to reduce your risk of heart disease. Bison makes the AHA cut as an extra-lean meat choice due to its low cholesterol and low saturated fat content. Nutrition expert Mark Sisson, author of “Primal Nutrition,” recommends bison as well, calling grass-fed game meats a mainstay for the growing caveman diet population.

Resources (1)

  • "The Primal Blueprint"; Mark Sisson; 2009

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.